...APPS FOR CUTTING DOWN ON STRESS
Staying on top of your daily routine and tasks is surely one of the best ways of making your working day less “mindless”, or stressful. And Schedule Planner is one of the most-loved planning apps out there. It’s designed with busy users in mind, and the intuitive interface allows you to categorise jobs under labels like “Meals”, “Health”, “Work” and many others. You can easily move and duplicate tasks, and reassigning categories in edit mode is very simple. The app also gives you the chance to colour code tasks by category, so you can quickly see where all your time is going.
Scores of would-be mindfulness evangelists have shunned meditation in favour of exercise as a way to empty the mind of worries. And scientists reckon that exercises like jogging can release endorphins (those mood-boosting neurotransmitters that we seem to hear so much about) in the brain. RunKeeper is one of the best ways of keeping track of the distance you’ve run, your average pace, weight loss (if that’s the aim), and number of steps taken. It’s used by marathon trainees, and you can even set your own workout routines, complete with audio coaching.
A study released earlier this year by Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire found that almost six in 10 Brits don’t get enough sleep. He said that the ubiquity of electronic devices in the bedroom could be at least partly to blame, with the bright, artificial lights disrupting sleep patterns. The Sleep Cycle app could yet render smartphones necessary for a good night’s kip, however. It’s an “intelligent alarm clock” that analyses your sleeping pattern and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase – apparently a natural way to wake feeling rested and relaxed.
Supposedly the most popular sleeping aid app in the iTunes store, Relax Melodies allows you to turn your bedroom into an oasis of calm. The array of sounds to choose from is vast – encompassing noises from the ocean, wind, waterfalls, rain, birdsong, as well as piano and even chilled-out orchestral music. You can mix between the tracks, with an option to have up to 10 sounds fused together. And once you’ve chosen the sounds you like (using the individual volume control for each track), you can save the mix for the following night’s sleep.
The Mindfulness App
If you’re eager to learn more about mindfulness, downloading The Mindfulness App is likely to be an awful lot cheaper than paying for one-on-one sessions. It’s designed to be accessible to all, coming pre-loaded with meditations aimed at a range of different experience levels. Simply open up the app, scroll through the list to choose the length of meditation you’d like to do (they vary from three to 30 minutes), and decide whether you’d like to have a voice guiding you through the session or just the occasional ding of a bell.